“Aboslutely the BEST way to see the Phi Phi Islands on a time crunch!”
I only had a week in Phuket, and I decided that rather than plan everything out beforehand, I would uncharacteristically just “wing it.” This resulted in me only having a few days to be able to locate a Phi Phi Islands Tour. I chose NudiTours based on the ratings, and I was in no way disappointed.
I naively thought that companies would run tours every day, which I’m sure some do. But some of the better ones only have them a couple of times a week since they do other tours throughout the week as well. I was lucky enough to squeeze onto a tour the day before I left–thank goodness, too, because seeing the Phi Phi Islands was a majority of the reason I made this trip!
Based off of my research, this tour is very fairly priced–actually, quite inexpensive considering that we were on a speed boat, so were able to see many sites, in addition to all of the other inclusives of the tour (which I’ll go over in a bit).
I was picked up at my hotel by the infamous Sompong. My email said to be ready by 7, and I believe he arrived around 7:20, but he had already picked up a couple by that point. It was probably about a 45 min drive to the meeting area in the north eastern part of Phuket–this tour doesn’t leave from Chalong, which I think a number of other tours do. We had a slight issue with Sompong’s car dying for a brief moment, but after that issue resolved itself, we were on our way.
We arrived at the meeting area with the rest of our group, as well as Sean. With booking, you pay 1250 baht up front, with the remainder due in cash the day of the tour. There were drinks and snacks for us when we arrived, and we were given our snorkel gear then–mask and flippers. After everyone was checked in, we walked down the pier and to our speed boat.
The tour consisted of 15 people, plus the driver, Sean, and Sompong–so it was a small group, which was very nice. There was actually also supposed to be a deck hand, but I guess he got sick, so couldn’t make it. On the boat there was a big cooler for us, that was filled with a variety of waters, juices, sodas, and snacks. Sompong went over the tour with us–explaining where we would go and what we would do. The main focus of this tour is to try and avoid all of the crowds as much as possible, which was WONDERFUL.
We started with about an hour ride to the first stop, which was Bamboo Island–a small island just north of Phi Phi Don. A couple of things to note–that week had been particularly windy, so the boat ride was pretty bumpy/rough–keep in mind this is a speedboat, too. Because of that, be conscientious of where you sit. If you are prone to sea sickness, you’ll probably want to sit closer to the front of the boat. Also keep in mind that you will be getting wet during the ride–that is just the nature of the speed boat.
When we arrived at Bamboo Island, the provided us with dry sacks for our belongs and mats for people to lay out on if they didn’t have a towel or didn’t want to lay their towel our. They then set up a little area for us on the beach with fruits and drinks, but we were free to wander around. Bamboo Island is amazing, and a wonderful photo spot. There also weren’t very many people there (hey! because we were avoiding the crowds) so it was almost like having our own little private island. We stayed on the island for about an hour, during which time people played in the water. We took pictures, and Sean and Sompong taught people the basics of snorkeling. After that we packed up just as an influx of boats came up bringing tons of people.
They then took us to a nearby island called Mosquito Island, where we found a spot and snorkeled for a while. The snorkeling was pretty cool. Sompong gave people small pieces of banana and threw bananas out in the water so that the fishes would swim around. For those not comfortable with swimming, they had floatie equipment for them. I believe we did this for about 45 mins or so.
So our next stop was Phi Phi Don for lunch. They took us to a secluded beach on the main island (away from the crowds) where we ate at a very amazing beach side restaurant. The food was served family style. There were a couple of vegetarians in the group, and Sean went out of his way to ensure that they had options to choose from to eat. After our meal, we hung out on our secluded beach. There was a little bar, where you could get cocktails–I, myself, enjoyed a mai tai to go along with this paradise of spot. Again, we were here for about an hour or so, after which we packed up and went onto the next adventure.
We made two stops before reaching Maya Bay (known for the movie The Beach). There was a little inlet we stopped in for maybe 30 min to swim around in the crystal clear water and take picture jumping off the front of the boat. We had to make it relatively quick in the interest of time and being able to see everything else. In addition to making sure the tide wasn’t too low to get out! We then made a quick stop by Monkey Beach, where we were given fruit to throw to the monkeys. Some of which jumped onto our boat! It was amazing and fun.
Maya Bay aka “The Beach”
We stopped by Maya Bay, at this point it was probably around 2PM or so. Unfortunately, the crowds were still in full force. Sean and Sompong gave us the option of going onto the beach, or going to a hidden spot about 30 min away for some amazing snorkeling. As disappointing as it was to not be able to actually step foot onto the beach of Maya Bay and get the pictures. I’m sure everyone hopes of getting while there. I was not into the idea of the major crowds, and very much enjoy snorkeling. So off we went!
I believe the area we snorkeled in was called Green Island. We were the only ones there for a very long time. So at some point another boat did show up, but we were pretty much wrapping up by then. The snorkeling was quite nice. Fish, star fish, colorful shellfish. It was a great way to end the tour. Before we left Sompong had fruit for us.
I highly recommend this tour to anyone looking to see the Phi Phi Islands. It’s much better than some of the bigger/cheaper tours, where they shuttle you around very quickly, and with the flow of the rest of the tourists. It was nice being able to experience something slightly different, away from all of the crowds. But still see what I came to Phuket for. I know NudiTours has another tour to Phang Nga. Which I will definitely go on next time I’m back out there (which will hopefully be soon!). Sean and Sompong were amazing, and really went out of their way to ensure that everyone was happy and comfortable.